My work involves using simulation and robotics to model how behaviour is controlled in insects. In particular I’m looking at how orientation behaviour using hearing interacts with vision. Studying insects is interesting because they have evolved for survival with a relatively small nervous system. This has resulted in neural mechanisms which are particularly efficient. They also have the useful property that individual neurons are identical between animals and can be investigated repeatedly. All this means that in insects we can begin to piece together complete circuits that connect sensory organs to actions carried out in the world. This is something which is far from possible for the human brain. It is hoped that by understanding these simple systems more completely neuroscientists and biologists will be able to see common principles at work in more complex organisms.
Related Publications and Presentations
- Mark Payne, Berthold Hedwig, and Barbara Webb, “A Combined Behavioural and Robotic Study of Auditory and Visual Integration in Gryllus bimaculatus”, International Congress of Neuroethology, Vancouver, 2007.